The pay of assistant district attorneys in Wisconsin needs to be increased to keep the justice system in the ball game. During Monday's Joint Finance Committee hearing on the proposed state budget at Racine Case High School, assistant Racine County D.A. Jim Newlun, representing the Association of State Prosecutors, said there has been a 75 percent turnover since 2001 because of the inability of prosecutors to move up the pay scale.
Paul Rifelj, a state public defender, said having inexperienced, underpaid prosecutors and public defenders does not serve justice. Racine County D.A. Mike Nieskes, discussing the governor's plan for early release of nonviolent offenders, said the program will eventually become a spigot for saving money. County board supervisor Van Waangard, a former police officer, also urged the committee to reconsider the plan, saying releasing prisoners early increases the chance they will reoffend.